Dubai Day 3 (and a bit on today)

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 2:  Tiger Woods of the USA hits balls from the heli-pad on top of the Burj Al Arab Hotel before the 2004 Dubai Desert Classic played at the Emirates Golf Club, on March 2, 2004 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption *** Tiger Woods
 (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
*** Local Caption *** Tiger Woods

Day 2 is in the books and a fascinating Day 3 is in prospect. An unexected day’s leave, caused by circumstances beyond my control, meant I could watch much of the last two sessions of play (and meaning that I missed the first).

England started brilliantly, getting Misbah in the first over, and then knocking over the rest in reasonably short order. While the stats show that scores over 400 are not common in Dubai, 378 must seem like a bit of a disappointment when considering the score at the start of the day. Mark Wood’s figures of 3/39 were massively impressive and a real hopeful sign for the future. Of course, when it comes to our rider of imaginary horses, we are always worried about his health.

England’s response started as many seem to these days. An early wicket, albeit through a wonderful catch at short leg, meant the Moeen experiment still remains a question to answer. That said, we’ve been looking for an answer to the other opening slot for a while now. Then Bell had a feeble nick off to Imran Khan. 14 for 2. Bell is definitely in the firing line, and he might seek advice from Trott on how to face that, with people acting like he’s got the eyesight of someone at 73, not 33. He’s in an awful rut, and maybe it is time to go somewhere else. But then, I don’t think we should exclude players because their faces don’t fit.

Those of us purporting to be anti-England must have been cock-a-hoop. We must have been fuming when a sweep shot from Cook plonked onto the bottom of the stumps and failed to dislodge a bail.

Cook and Root passed half centuries, quite serenely, and then Yasir Shah, who might as well have been Lord Lucan given the expert knowledge the English cricket fraternity had demonstrated about him (recalling this excellent article from the archives), unexpectedly broke through when our lovely leader clipped a ball to leg slip. His 65 was not quite as good as his 263, but he does look somewhere near his best (best illustrated by his confidence on the drive). This, of course, gives the lie to the “near his best” codswallop around the time of that legendary, scratchy, 95 at the Rose Bowl or whatever it is called now. A solid, hard to dismiss, and scoring at a reasonable pace Cook is something any team needs. With Warner out of form (relatively), Rogers retired, and most of the other countries in flux with their openers, Cook is the best around, probably, at the top of the list.

What can one say about Joe Root? Well, let’s not get overboard too quickly would be my first thing. I remarked on Twitter that his current form reminds me of the way Michael Vaughan was playing in 2002-3. The standard of opposition was better, but peak Vaughan was a big hundred in waiting. Root is giving off an aura something like it. I maybe in violation of my own advice! Root’s footwork and reactions are just wonderful. He gets into position, he can manipulate the ball, and he is pretty solid in defence despite the early working over by Wahab Riaz. He needs to go on to make a big hundred here to keep England in the position they’ve created. The problem here is that maybe we expect Joe to do it all the time, and then when he has the dips in form that are inevitable in test cricket, we might be in trouble.

Jonny Bairstow started very scratchily, but did open up and attack, and then made some runs. Bairstow, in my eyes, is not a keeper we could trust and not a middle order batsman we can rely upon. He falls between two stools in my eyes, but I’ve been wrong before and will be again.

So, Day 3 beckons. England 190-odd behind. Seven wickets in hand. Game in the balance. Worries about our middle order are mentioned freely in the commentary box. I am not sure I’ll be awake for the start of play.

In Colombo the visitors crumbled to 163 all out, with, yet again, most of the line-up getting to double figures. 47 was the top score, by Kraigg Brathwaite, and the spread bet line should certainly be revised after Herath took just one of the ten to fall. Dhamikka Prasad took four, suggesting this isn’t just a spinners surface. Sri Lanka are 76 for 2 in their second innings, 113 in front and looking good. Day 3 provides West Indies with a seemingly final hope.

New Zealand kicked off their tour of Australia with a match under lights and using a pink ball. I’m going to leave it with the Adam Voges thing on social media (which I didn’t see…and isn’t on his twitter feed)

Maybe it’s this quote….

“There wasn’t much pink left on it by the end of the game,” Voges said. “The one that got hit onto the roof [by Martin Guptill] and didn’t come back was 28 overs old and it looked like it was 68 overs old to be fair. To be honest, it didn’t hold up very well at all tonight.

“It looked as though the lacquer had come off and it was turning green basically. There were bits of pink left, but it was more green than pink by the end. I know that it stopped swinging, there was no reverse-swing or anything like that because both sides get chunked up equally, but yeah the older it gets, I can’t see it being any easier to see.”

We’ll be debating that, I’m sure.

Comments on the days play tomorrow, and any other observations, please fire away. Note – I’ve not read the press pages. I still need to have my dinner.

Finally, thoughts with my Aunt. Vascualar dementia is a cruel, horrible curse, and it looks likely to take her soon from us. My wishes and strength to her daughter, my cousin, and her kids, and most of all to my lovely uncle. We are all powerless as the disease takes someone we care about away from us. Love you Auntie. Say hello to Dad.

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77 thoughts on “Dubai Day 3 (and a bit on today)

  1. Mark Oct 23, 2015 / 4:29 pm

    I think its a great shame for Cook that he could not of been left alone to just be a very good opening batsman. He is of the old school. He sees off the new ball, and He bats long. He’s not flash, and as Ive said before he is not someone you would only pay to see bat. But you need that type of player at the top of the order. Add in his famous Steele and stubbornness, and you have an ideal opener.

    However , he was never captaincy material, and he never should have been given the job in the first place. I don’t care if his image fits in with the ECB higher ups and sponsors. Not only did they make him captain , they ludicrously then tried to turn him into a Messiah figure. Big mistake. Messiah figures are always controversial and not everyone loves them. He is not without blame, mind. His sense of entitlement to being the big cheese has made many of us dislike him even more. He has caused huge divisions, and unfortunately for Cook it has taken away from a more sensible, sober, non brown nose appraisal of his basic batting skills.

    Not all his fault, and I think the Selveys and Pringles and Newmans of this world have done him far more harm than good with their embarrassing genuflecting in front of him. Not that he will care less, he got to be captain and all the perks that go with the job.

    Shame he couldn’t just have been viewed as an opening batsman. He would probably be much more respected. ( That should drive our loyal fans even more insane.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine Oct 23, 2015 / 5:39 pm

      It is a shame, but at the same time Cook has allowed/enabled it to happen, even if it is mostly the fan club who look daft.

      Not that he will care less, he got to be captain and all the perks that go with the job.

      Exactly.
      Although he has obviously got very fraught at times, I always suspect that deep down, in the long term, Cook really isn’t that bothered about cricket and all the crap that goes on. He’s got to the top of his profession, making a lot of money and securing a good place in the record books. He’s playing his career like he bats, getting as much as he can for as long as he can and then he’ll walk right away from it all and go and be a country landowner.

      Like

    • greyblazer Oct 23, 2015 / 10:33 pm

      I’m sensing there is not a great deal of respect for Cook here, I understand why. However in recent times his batting is back to its best and his captaincy has gone up a level, he is winning me over.

      Like

  2. thebogfather Oct 23, 2015 / 4:44 pm

    Sod the cricket, best wishes and thoughts with you and all yours, and may your Aunt pass with a smile of a happy life

    Like

    • Zephirine Oct 23, 2015 / 5:41 pm

      Yes – best thoughts to you and yours, Dmitri.

      Like

    • Benny Oct 23, 2015 / 5:46 pm

      Well put Bogfather. The suffering of those we love is the worst experience in life. My thoughts are with you and yours Dmitri. (BTW my wife was mended yesterday)

      Like

    • BoerInAustria Oct 23, 2015 / 6:36 pm

      My thoughts are also with you…

      Like

    • Mark Oct 23, 2015 / 7:12 pm

      Well said Bogfather.

      Sorry to hear about your aunt, it’s a terrible illness. Best wishes to you and your family Dmitri. I should have put that in my original piece. Sorry.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus Oct 23, 2015 / 7:18 pm

        No problem at all, and thanks for the wishes. She is in her 90s, and she lives a fair way from me, and the last time I saw her she didn’t know me from Adam. It actually distressed her when she was told who we were, because she does remember my Dad (as a boy), and he passed away a decade ago. A really difficult, but ultimately rewarding day, because it meant a lot to me to see my uncle.

        I know people are kind on here, so no need for any more nice wishes. I love this little community on here, and is why I’m defensive when challenged.

        Like

  3. Benny Oct 23, 2015 / 6:22 pm

    For light relief from today’s news:

    “Andrew Flintoff: Drinking turns me into an idiot” BBC Sport

    “Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff says the current national cricket team are the best the country has ever produced.” Daily Mail

    Draw your own conclusions

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Oct 23, 2015 / 6:32 pm

      I just listened to that clip.

      His England beat the West Indies containing peak Chanderpaul, peak-ish Lara, peak-ish Gayle, Sarwan and a half decent bowling line-up and won 3-0.

      Next.

      Like

    • Mark Oct 23, 2015 / 7:09 pm

      Fred must be a bit punch drunk if he really believes that.

      Better than 2005 Fred? Of course the interview is with Newmans newspaper so maybe he knows his audience. Give um what they want to hear.

      By the way, talking about the Mail did you hear their football writer on 5 live last week? The bloke who chairs The Sunday supplement. Can’t remember his name. Anyway, he was defending the ludicrous questions that were asked at the Liverpool/ Klopp press conference. Apparently a Liverpool player sitting next to Klopp was asked what Klopp is like as manager. Before he could answer Klopp intervened and said its a stupid question and they should ask about the game. The idea the player would give any other answer than how good Klopp is with his new manager sitting next to him is crazy. Anyway this Mail journalist thought no, this was a very important question.

      He then went on to say that if a reporter brought back from any press conference involving Chelsea, or Arsenal, or Man utd answers on team tacits and formations the sports editor would throw it out. It doesn’t sell newspapers. The premiership is a soap opera he said and that is almost more important that the football.

      So there you have it. The sports journalist is really nothing more than a soap opera reviewer.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus Oct 23, 2015 / 7:15 pm

        Mark,

        He said it on a BBC interview this morning. I listened to it. He, like KP, has a book to sell, and Freddie knows a headline or two. When asked to justify it, he mentioned Cook, of course, Root, Bell and Jimmy Anderson. We, on this blog have debated whether we would have picked Anderson in that team (and we mean peak-Anderson). The answer is probably yes, but not the slam dunk the masterful company of current scribes would think it is. Who would you drop? Harmy of 2005? Hoggard? Jones? Freddie himself?

        Don’t even start me on the batting.

        As for the journalist stuff, well, what a shocker. They all tut tut at Jose Mourinho, who is in weapons grade arsehole mode at the moment, but they know his antics sell papers, get air time. They don’t prevent the monsters that are in our game, they feed them. Sick of it, to be honest. Pretty much turned my back on the sport.

        Neil Ashton might be the name you are looking for. Saw that Lee Clayton, erstwhile of the Daily Star, is in charge of Mail Sport. Ah….the West Ham Mafia in full effect.

        Like

      • Mark Oct 23, 2015 / 7:41 pm

        Yup, Neil Ashton is his name. As you say they feed the beast. But it was quite interesting to hear him admit quite openly. that actual football issues don’t sell papers. They want soap opera. I guess they know their readers, so it reflects badly on the newspaper paying public in the end.

        We know it all so well from the whole KP issue. They hate, him but they know his name gets clicks. For all their claims we are obsessed by him, they just can’t kick their KP habit.

        Like

  4. BoerInAustria Oct 23, 2015 / 7:25 pm

    I told myself not to but I did. And this I learned:

    Adil Rashid did not bowl with sufficient pace to trouble the batsmen
    Moeen Ali may count himself unfortunate. But Ian Bell had no such excuse.
    Here we have a batsman struggling for his career now, each innings a trial in itself.
    Twice Cook had some good fortune…but a clever field had been set, anticipating the manner in which Cook works the ball off his hips: he duly did so.
    The remainder of the England batting may have an attacking, free-scoring look to it, but it remains suspect …
    Misbah’s career may be of late a flowering success but he has a tendency not to push on once he reaches a hundred.

    He is trolling, is he not?

    Like

    • BoerInAustria Oct 24, 2015 / 7:28 am

      And I ventured into the comments this morning:

      “goto100 11h ago – I think people have got the wrong end of the stick with my original comment. Perhaps I should expand on it.

      Cook is the first “big league” batsman England has ever produced. He’s a run-scoring machine, and he may well end up the world’s highest run scorer. This after the previous highest scorer was Graham Gooch, just short of 9000 career runs whilst every other major cricket playing nations’ highest scorers were past 12000 runs. It’s a huge shift up in stature. Even if the absolute number of runs scored is only a part of the equation regarding how good someone is. England has Jack Hobbs after all. And there will be only one Bradman.”

      Like

    • d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 9:13 am

      Mike Selvey has ventured below the line, and on Rashid his “defence” seems to be that:

      “Just adding the opinion of someone who bowls the stuff to a very high standard for a living.”

      Whose opinion it is that gets regurgitated as gospel truth is unclear. Fair to assume it was not Warne. And a decent shout that it was not Kumble either.

      Citing Paul Downton, whenever he has success in the park in a recreational game, does not make for good journalism.

      Like

  5. Rooto Oct 24, 2015 / 6:34 am

    Morning. I’m confused. What’s the difference in the eyes of the media between yesterday’s man, Ian Bell, loosely chasing a wide one, and future captain Joe Root being “eager to get bat on ball” ?

    Like

  6. pktroll (@pktroll) Oct 24, 2015 / 6:45 am

    The problem is that very few in the media seem to understand the issue that at the moment England is relying on two true test match quality batsmen. Sure some of the younger guys have real talent but at the moment there is a real lack of depth. Bell just looks as though he has inner demons.

    On to this match and our big two have made fair contributions but neither has kicked on. Rooto I am starting to be a bit bothered that in the last year, Joe Root has scored a whole heap of scores of 70/80 odd but not converted into 100s. I can’t overlook that and it was one of issues that I had with Ian Bell around 2007/8 when he wasn’t turning scores of 50+ into tons. That clearly appeared to stunt his development and stop him becoming a consistent, world class player.

    Bairstow appears to have got away with one as a slip catch that was sent upstairs by the umpire was given not out.

    Like

    • Rooto Oct 24, 2015 / 6:54 am

      Yes. I’d have given it too, especially considering Ravi gave Jimmy’s catch last week ( though I realise it’s not the same umpire).
      The twin threats of Yasir’s spin and bounce and Wahab’s pace are thrilling to watch this morning.

      Like

    • d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 6:58 am

      This time, the friendly umpiring does not cost Pakistan too much time or runs. But yeah, to rely on “umpire’s call” with low catches is a complete farce. Cook seemed to have gotten away with one in the West Indies, while a West Indian in the same series, did not.

      Until the umpiring protocol changes for these catches, expect more farcical decisions with regard to them.

      Like

      • d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 7:02 am

        And of course the lack of caffeine results in mixing Bairstow and Stokes up.

        Buttler gone, 216/6. Take a bow Wahab Riaz. Excellent bowling this morning.

        Like

    • SimonH Oct 24, 2015 / 8:08 am

      Before we start blaming the batsmen who made some runs let’s look at:

      1) Opening with an opener who’s never opened.
      2) Playing two wicketkeepers.
      3) Bell’s form (but not, for heaven’s sake, his age).

      Like

  7. pktroll (@pktroll) Oct 24, 2015 / 7:11 am

    I really didn’t think that the Bairstow ‘catch’ touched the ground. It was more that the 3rd umpire seemed unsure that it didn’t. Surely the protocol should be something like rugby, “is there any reason why I cannot award the try?”

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Oct 24, 2015 / 7:19 am

      I thought umpires gave “soft” decisions and the evidence had to point the other way. So if the umpires believe it to be out the evidence has to be clearly to the contrary.

      Like

      • pktroll (@pktroll) Oct 24, 2015 / 7:29 am

        That’s what I thought too. It didn’t appear to be the case there. Bairstow looked as though he was going to walk off and it appeared he then thought about making the umpires have to make the decision. It appears more than anything that the umpires were unsure.

        Like

      • ArushaTZ Oct 24, 2015 / 7:22 am

        Probably best to go back to sleep. The wickets don’t make pretty viewing.

        Like

  8. d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 7:23 am

    Bairstow gone, morning session 41/5 at the moment, as England crash to 223/8. Follow on averted, but being say 100 runs behind on first innings here is massive.

    Like

  9. Rooto Oct 24, 2015 / 7:38 am

    In the interests of putting contrary views: Wahab just got through 9 overs on the bounce, a very long spell in the heat, but he’s made sure that he doesn’t have to bowl again this innings.

    Like

  10. SimonH Oct 24, 2015 / 7:45 am

    Tragic for England the weather has changed. Didn’t stand a chance in these overcast, cloudy conditions….

    Just warming up for Selvey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 7:56 am

      Of course the toss made it mandatory to implode from 206/3 to 233/9. Should have won it, and it could not have possibly happened.

      Like

    • Mark Oct 24, 2015 / 8:51 am

      Exactly Bogfather! How I remember the smugness of people like Agnew and all the other pundits who have been saying there are just no places up for grabs in the England middle order for 2’years. England now depend on 2 Test match batsman. Cook and Root. If they don’t deliver we don’t make many runs.

      The good news is this is not an Ashes or big 3 contest played at Lords. So no one is that bothered. Onward to Nottingham and Robin Hood! That’s the ticket you all want.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thebogfather Oct 24, 2015 / 8:58 am

        The MSM pantomime season continues…. he’s behind you! (with a knife) – oh no he isn’t!

        Like

  11. d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 8:14 am

    Kraigg Brathwaite had taken 3 FC wickets before today. Today he took 6/29 in a Test against Sri Lanka.

    Like

  12. Ian Oct 24, 2015 / 8:26 am

    244 to win for WI. Should be worth watching.

    Like

  13. Arron Wright Oct 24, 2015 / 8:28 am

    This lunchtime on TMS, FICJAM talks to Scyld Berry about cricket in the late 19th century. Don’t all turn Sky off at once.

    Like

  14. thebogfather Oct 24, 2015 / 8:43 am

    As an aside, and in the week of the centenary of the death of W.G Grace, may I recommend you visit BBC radio4extra website and take a listen to two programmes broadcast earlier this week.
    firstly, ‘The Mark Steel Lecture’ on the comedy zone with a WG spoof, and secondly, a play – Last Days Of Grace –
    Nick Warburton’s cricketing drama, starring Kenneth Cranham. On Easter Monday 1908, an ageing WG Grace arrives at the Oval and cannot quite bear to sit in the clubhouse to meet the usual people. Instead he braves the cold to face a different type of questioning. With Benedict Cumberbatch and Christopher Martin-Jenkins. First aired in 2008.

    Well worth a listen both…..

    Like

    • thebogfather Oct 24, 2015 / 8:49 am

      …especially when FICJAM and LoveJoy are on TMS together

      Like

  15. Sherwick Oct 24, 2015 / 8:49 am

    CMJ. Now he was a classy, knowledgeable and highly intelligent commentator.

    Unlike the Great Pretender FICJAM.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather Oct 24, 2015 / 8:54 am

      FICJAM is angling for Aggers position as BBC Cricket Correspondent….. shame that Aggers has become a self parody these days..

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus Oct 24, 2015 / 8:56 am

        I think you are harsh on Agnew, but everyone is entitled to an opinion.

        That said, WTF is he doing in Argentina when there is an England test series going on.

        As for FICJAM. The BBC wouldn’t….. would they?

        Like

      • thebogfather Oct 24, 2015 / 9:03 am

        I honestly think Agnew has become a bit of a self parody, it is a shame, because in general I like his commentary and observations, particularly when he, albeit rarely, loosens the shackles of corporate and sponsor led speak. Apparently he’s in Argentina because he promised his missus a hol, and booked it before the Tests and ODI dates were switched.
        And yes,the BBC would….

        Like

      • FICJAM ON AGAIN AAAAAGH Oct 24, 2015 / 10:32 am

        Yes they would and yes they will.

        Liked by 1 person

    • hatmallet Oct 24, 2015 / 10:28 am

      Did you spot this disturbing paragraph?

      “The decision over whether to recommend Boycott for a knighthood rests with the sports sub-committee of the honours system, which is chaired by Lord Coe. The five independent members of the committee include Giles Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board; Graham Taylor, the former England football manager, and Baroness Grey Thompson, the former Paralympic athlete.”

      Like

      • Mark Oct 24, 2015 / 10:43 am

        The British establishment is like an octopus. Giles Clarke pops up everywhere. KP won’t be getting a knighthood then, but the man of Steel may find himself in the Lords.

        Like

  16. d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 9:02 am

    Masood is really Anderson’s bunny. 4 dismissals in 23 balls for the series, if I am not miscounting.

    Like

    • SimonH Oct 24, 2015 / 9:26 am

      Malik looked rattled by Wood’s pace and drags on. 16/2.

      Like

      • SimonH Oct 24, 2015 / 9:28 am

        Or 152/2…

        Like

    • d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 9:30 am

      It is 17 balls, 4 runs, 4 dismissals. Even worse. You’d expect Masood to be replaced for the next Test. Whether that is Ahmed Shezhad coming in, or Shoaib Malik moving up the order to open remains to be seen. Azhar Ali of course should slot in at #3.

      16/2, but that is effectively +152/2. No need to worry yet for Pakistan. Anything above 250 will be really challenging to chase. On the bright side, it looks like time will not be a major issue here – it would take something phenomenal to turn this into a draw.

      Like

      • d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 10:36 am

        More worryingly for England, besides taking out Masood 4 times for 4 runs, Anderson has 2/108 against the other batsmen in the series thus far.

        Like

  17. d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 10:17 am

    It is a bit concerning that England are using their seventh bowler, Root, in the 19th over. That might be close to a record? I’d be hesitant to bowl Root, given his back issues. The last thing England need is Root being unfit to play in the third Test (or any Test for that matter).

    Like

  18. thebogfather Oct 24, 2015 / 10:19 am

    Apparently, our ‘beloved leader’ is undecided on what to do next….. he knows not whether to chew his gum or bite his nails, oblivious in his own world when some positive ideas are needed…

    Like

  19. d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 10:27 am

    Hafeez gets to his fifty, and perishes next ball, nicking it through to a slip fielder. 83/3, or +219/3.

    Wood picking up his second wicket; none of England’s slow bowlers are currently slowing things down. At this rate, England may start batting again in the evening.

    Like

  20. Fred Oct 24, 2015 / 10:48 am

    What happened this morning (I missed it)? Normally I would normally suspect a difficult pitch or inability to play spin, but neither seem to be the case.

    Like

    • Fred Oct 24, 2015 / 10:55 am

      Ah, just seen the replays. Great bowling and virtually no footwork from any of the batsmen. Self inflicted wounds.

      Like

      • Arron Wright Oct 24, 2015 / 11:03 am

        Your pseudo-namesake and English cricketing folk hero thinks this is the “best England side ever”.

        What do you, as a neutral, make of that?

        Like

      • Mark Oct 24, 2015 / 11:06 am

        Yes Arron, this mornings performance makes Freddie’s comments look even more ridiculous than when he made them.

        Is anyone reading the Twitter feed from fleets streets finest this morning? Have the excuses started to come in?

        Like

      • Arron Wright Oct 24, 2015 / 11:19 am

        Purely on career batting stats, it must *in fact* be one of the poorest since the 1980s. One batsman averaging over 50, one over 45, one other over 40. Flower’s side, at times, had two or three with career averages over 50 (Cook, Trott, KP), one or two over 45 (Bell; briefly Prior), and two over 40 (Strauss, Collingwood). All seven stayed over 40 for his entire period in charge. And as regulars well know, Flower’s side isn’t even my favourite of this century.

        I’ve heard of short memory syndrome, but ffs, he’s talking out of his arse. If FICJAM said the same we’d tear him apart like vultures.

        Like

      • Fred Oct 24, 2015 / 11:32 am

        Flintoff falls into that category of cricketer who is great to watch play cricket but you don’t really need to listen to anything he says. From what little I’ve heard, Hayden also falls into that category.
        It’s a callow team, these things will happen.
        England used to have Swann at 8.
        Seems to be alot of question marks in this team; Ali’s role, Bairstow, Buttler, Rashid and Wood are all dubious one way or another. And Bell is having (possibly terminal) problems. The team could go either way in the next year or two.

        Like

      • Fred Oct 24, 2015 / 11:34 am

        That was truly awful batting though. Straight from the “stand and waft” manual.
        Still, it means an afternoon of Younis, so every cloud…

        Like

      • hatmallet Oct 24, 2015 / 12:02 pm

        And you see him reach 9,000 Test runs.

        Like

      • Mark Oct 24, 2015 / 12:06 pm

        The Aussies must be kicking themselves in losing the Ashes to this team. They won the two London test matches easily. All they had to do was just avoid defeat in one of the other 3 test matches and they would have got a 2-2 draw and retained the urn.

        They must be shaking their heads.

        Like

      • Fred Oct 24, 2015 / 12:27 pm

        Oh look, another Younus 50. Haven’t seen one of those for days. Two, at least.

        Like

  21. d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 11:57 am

    Elsewhere, Zimbabwe have been reduced to 15/3 chasing 246 for a series win against Afghanistan. This could be historic: the first time an Associate nation wins a multi-game bilateral series against a Full Member.

    Of course, Giles Clarke will see this as an opportunity to get rid of Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, rather than an opportunity to expand the game global.

    Like

    • d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 12:40 pm

      51/5, with Raza gone. Now, unless Sean Williams and Chigumbura play two blinders, Afghanistan are about to win the series.

      Like

  22. hatmallet Oct 24, 2015 / 12:12 pm

    “Superb ovation” from an empty ground.

    Like

  23. SimonH Oct 24, 2015 / 12:26 pm

    No team has conceded a hundred run first innings’ deficit in a UAE Test and gone on to win the match.

    Pakistan’s 87 against SL (the match where they chased down 302 in Sharjah) is the highest.

    Like

  24. Fred Oct 24, 2015 / 1:08 pm

    There won’t be any bad light problems today. The incadescence of Stokes’ rage will overtake the sun.

    Like

  25. d'Arthez Oct 24, 2015 / 1:33 pm

    Misbah and Younis have an excellent session. 130/0. Pakistan effectively +358/3. Not looking good, to put in an understatement. England threw away the match in one wicked session this morning.

    Like

  26. man in a barrel Oct 24, 2015 / 2:36 pm

    If my lip reading is a adequate, Stokes might have crossed the line when swearing at Misbah. That would be unfortunate. On other matters, I predicted that Moeen would be the sacrificial lamb as the other opener, but didn’t foresee that we would miss his runs at #8 quite so badly.

    Like

    • escort Oct 24, 2015 / 5:38 pm

      And you would know what it takes to “cross the line” with some of your previous comments wouldn’t you ?

      Like

  27. man in a barrel Oct 25, 2015 / 9:18 am

    Glad to see that you are hanging on my every word, escort, and giving me the benefit of your incisive intellect.

    Like

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